Activist, actress, dancer, writer and model.
SS: What made you go vegan and why?
JR: I grew up dining at fancy steakhouses and eating meat fairly often. I never really enjoyed meat that much, so when I was about ten years old, I proclaimed myself a “chickentarian” (a pescetarian who also eats chicken). When I was thirteen years old, I was dining out with my family and ordered a chicken breast. As I cut into it, I hit a tendon and blood oozed out. I was immediately overcome with disgust and could not fathom the idea of eating another living being. I first became a pescetarian for a few months, before transitioning to a vegetarian. I never understood the purpose of veganism until about a year and a half ago, when I became educated on the horrors of the egg production and dairy industry. Once I learned about the mistreatment of animals in these industries and how they are indirectly connected to the meat industry, I knew I had to make the jump to vegan.
SS: Has it been difficult for you? If yes, what was difficult and did it get easier?
JR: When I first started to go vegan, it was very difficult for me. I was that girl who laughed at the idea of veganism, since I could not fathom living without my beloved cheese and ice cream. I was really lucky, though, because I became vegan at a time when many companies like daiya and gardein were distributing fabulous substitutes to restaurants and grocery stores. Living in LA, it’s super easy to walk down the street and find a vegetarian/vegan restaurant. In addition, so many restaurants are recognizing the growing demand for vegan food and thus are implementing more vegan options to their menus. Being a vegan was the best choice I’ve made and now I can’t imagine NOT being a vegan!
SS: What would you say to encourage someone who is considering becoming vegan?
JR: I would say, go for it! Being vegan has so many benefits and it is truly transformative. You feel so great both inside and out, knowing your food choices have such a large impact on yourself and others. If you think about it, the food you eat has such an effect on the world around you and really shows what kind of person you are. My philosophy is that I don’t want my own existence to cause harm to anyone else and could not enjoy food, knowing that someone had to suffer for it to be made. Of course, this extends beyond food into fashion and cosmetics. Even if you don’t care about animals at all, do it for your own health or the health of the planet! Your body will thank you for it.
SS: What are some animal rights related things you participate in?
JR: I try to integrate animal rights into my life as much as possible. As an actress/dancer/writer, I often include animal rights issues in my creative work, even if it is only subtle. It’s such a great outlet for me and allows me to have an effect on people, through stirring their emotions. In college, I choreographed a dance piece that paralleled issues surrounding human slavery and animal enslavement. It was so amazing to give animals a voice through my body movements and be able to educate others in an entertaining way. I continue to write stories and screenplays that I hope will have an impact on others in the future.
In addition, I manage a blog called Bein’ Green Savin’ Green (www.beingreensavingreen.blogspot.com). The purpose of the blog is to help others realize how easy and fun it is to live an environmentally friendly, vegan lifestyle. There is such a misconception that vegan food is costly and tasteless. My goal is to show my readers that vegan food is not only very inventive and flavorful, but can be greatly enjoyed, without breaking the bank. I also co-own a vegan stock photo site called Vegistock (www.vegistock.com). Our goal is to provide high quality, cruelty-free food photos to publications and hopefully bring vegan into the mainstream. Through our photography, we can show people that veganism goes beyond the standard idea of salads and veggie burgers.
SS: What are your favorite AR organizations?
JR: Gosh, there are so many amazing AR organizations. I really love Mercy For Animals and Compassion Over Killing. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to volunteer with both of these lovely organizations and have been able to directly experience the changes they’re making for animals everywhere. I also love PETA. When I first became vegetarian in my teens, I relied on the PETA2 magazine to educate myself about animal rights issues, and it provided a great support system for me, since I didn’t know many other vegetarians at the time. I think PETA does great work and I love that they are so controversial and bring about a lot of media attention.